Bricks on the Lakefront Plaza

Every time I go to Lake Kittamaqundi I wonder about the bricks along theLakefront Plaza. The bricks are laid out in a herringbone pattern, and every few bricks there is a personalized brick. Some of the bricks have names, while others have names and dates. Finally getting curious enough about the bricks, I decided to look them up on the Columbia Association website. I typed the word “brick” in the search box and up popped what I was looking for: Buy a Brick.

With more searching, I found the history of the Buy a Brick program on an episode of “Columbia Matters.” In the video, Barbara Kellner, director ofColumbia Archives, shares how the sale of bricks began with the planning of the renovation of Lakefront Plaza in 1990. The first brick sale was a huge success and 1,700 personalized bricks were sold, which allowed for the regilding of the People Tree.

Since then sales of bricks go on sale the winter before every milestone birthday that Columbia celebrates. Columbia just celebrated its 45th birthday, so bricks were on sale this past winter and all new bricks were added before the birthday party. The next sale doesn’t begin until late 2016/early 2017.

My curiosity about the bricks came a little too late to buy a brick this time around, but I spoke with Erin McPhail, a communications assistant with CA and the contact person for CA’s Buy a Brick program. She told me that the Buy a Brick program is so popular that a waiting list begins as soon as a brick sale ends.  If you get on the waitlist, you will get notified a week before the bricks go on sale and you can make an advanced purchase. If you opt not to get on the waiting list, you might not get a brick as there is a limited number of bricks sold.<

Of course, I had to ask how much a brick costs, and Erin told me that the prices for the last sale were $65 for bricks with two lines of text and $75 for three lines; each line has a maximum of 15 characters.

I also found that the CA has an online brick locator tool. That’s pretty cool, as is the whole idea of a lasting legacy gift. I’m tucking this idea in my head for a future Christmas present!


Melissa Sinclair works in the Communications & Engagement Division at Columbia Association (CA). Melissa recently moved to Columbia with her three-generation family. She has lived in more than a dozen cities and is looking forward to making Columbia, Md., her permanent home! Over the past year she has worked on losing weight, getting fit and doing volunteer work; she is now looking forward to working for CA after staying home with her family for the last several years. Melissa has a bachelor’s degree in Spanish and a master’s degree in educational administration. Click here to read more of Melissa’s Getting to Know CA series.


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